[ExI] Privatization and so called public "ownership"/was Re: Americans are poor drivers

Dan dan_ust at yahoo.com
Thu Jul 9 13:19:50 UTC 2009

--- On Wed, 7/8/09, Stathis Papaioannou <stathisp at gmail.com> wrote:
> 2009/7/9 Dan <dan_ust at yahoo.com>:
>> Yes, while true, my point was that there are options
>> and no one is forced into those things.  Yes, I can agree
>> to some contract that's extremely restrictive.  But I can
>> also NOT agree to that -- e.g., not form or come into
>> agreement with your very state-like road company.  My guess
>> is in a world of free market roads, we'd see very little
>> like the scenario you depict.
> It may be just the sort of thing you would see given the
> current
> arrangement in most places if the government dissolved or
> decided to divest itself of direct investment in roads.
> Ownership would then naturally go to the citizens, who
> may choose to maintain it as a public resource in the
> way described.

While it can happen that way, there is nothing "natural" about it.  A better path to privatizing a government owned resource -- since "public ownership" really means government ownership and is, for the most part, merely rhetorical cover for taking stuff away from the original owners -- would be to find from whom the resource was first taken.  In some cases, this might be a group, but then ownership is no different from any other form of private group ownership.  And there's no reason in that sort of case to believe or support the view that individual members of such a group would have no ability to sell their shares.

Also, in the case of roads, where former private owners can't be found -- as in the case where they and their heirs are dead or untraceable -- then the proper thing to do is to put them back into the state of unclaimed properties and allow them to be homesteaded.  (And not everyone would have an equal right to homestead here -- unlike with purely unowned items.  Why?  Some -- specifically, those in government and those, more or less directly connected to government, cannot have an equal claim to homestead as their actions or the actions of their criminal organizations served to place or maintain such properties in a state where their original owners lost them or could not get them back.  Thus, in former socialist nations, the party members should NOT have any claims on factories or other stolen property.)

Add to this, members of the government should NOT be allowed to have ownership.  They must be excluded just as a thief would be excluded.  This would also go for non-tax-paying members of the populace who had nothing to do with the original ownership.  For instance, were I to move to, say, Nova Scotia, where I've never paid taxes (viz., never had the Nova Scotian government steal from me) and never had any just claim over property there, I could not claim that, since I'm now a member of the public there, I have a just claim over any privatized roads or similar properties.  (Granted, if people who justly owned these decided to give me some claim to the properties, that's another story.  But this requires them to do so -- not my merely moving there and making the claim as a new member of the Nova Scotia public; it is NOT the default state of things.)

> After all, this is why publicly
> owned resources and companies exist, although from time to
> time they are privatised.

I think the matter is more complicated than this and doesn't fit your view -- at least, not outside of rhetoric used to legitamize such claims.  In most cases of public companies and resources, these were stolen from their original owners or, in the cases of unowned things, were not justly homesteaded.  In the former case, the just choice, where it's possible, is to return the property to its original owners.  E.g., a factory nationalized must be returned to its original owners.  (There might be some dispute over whether any betterments or improvements were made, but the grounding principle is to return the property to its original owners.  In some cases, this might involve removing changes or having some form of division.  E.g., the factory is returned to its original owners but the new machine installed at taxpayers' expense is given back to the specific taxpayers who paid for it.)  

In the latter case, merely having the government decree that some such 
hectares belong to it or the public is not homesteading.  In fact, it merely prevents others from justly homesteading the hectares.  This can be applied to large sections of the United States -- where the land was not formerly owned by the aboriginal peoples.  I.e., that land -- the unowned land that the US or state governments took -- would be open for homesteading.




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